The laborious agonies of creating beauty, captured in relaxed, anecdotal prose.

OTHERWISE NORMAL PEOPLE

INSIDE THE OBSESSIVE AND THORNY WORLD OF COMPETITIVE ROSE GARDENING

Investigative visits with some gung-ho rose-lovers, who reveal their methods, motivation and super-competitive ways.

Scott, a journalist and rose-grower in Portland, Maine, treks cross-country from her hometown to various sunny spots in California, stopping at the homes of numerous rose experts to find out why the flowers enthrall these cheerful, hardworking, deeply committed people. The rosarians (knowledgeable growers of roses) she meets are mostly male and mostly well-off—they need to be able to afford the space and paraphernalia necessary to keep the flowers flourishing. They’re also competitive by nature, and not just about roses: Rachel Hunter, of Temecula, Calif., once ranked third in a national typing contest. But the main focus of the rosarians’ obsessive competitiveness are the three national shows hosted annually by the American Rose Society (ARS); the chapter entitled “Judgment Hour” chronicles the results of the ARS Spring Show in San Diego. Only hybrid teas, Scott learns, can win the top awards of Queen, King, Princess and Best of Show, though thousands of varieties exist within 35 classes or categories of roses. The typical rosarian, she discovers, employs an armada of chemical weapons to keep the flowers in peak bloom and bugs and diseases at bay; the president of the World Federation of Rose Societies is actually a semi-retired forensic chemist and toxicology specialist. Chapters on “Rose Sex” (i.e., hybridizing) and the cultivation of antique rose varieties (“The Heady Scent of History”) are especially interesting. Along the way, Scott offers some fascinating bits of historical trivia: The Minoans of Crete first painted roses; the Romans were crazy about them; and French Empress Josephine so delighted in the flowers that she even managed to save many species from extinction at her estate at Malmaison.

The laborious agonies of creating beauty, captured in relaxed, anecdotal prose.

Pub Date: May 18, 2007

ISBN: 1-56512-464-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Algonquin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2007

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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